Technical Assistance FAQ

Technical Assistance Overview

What is CGRS’s technical assistance (“TA”) program?

CGRS’s technical assistance program focuses on claims involving asylum, withholding of removal, and Convention Against Torture (CAT) protection and encompasses several components: (a) resource development; (b) dissemination of resources; (c) individualized consultations; and (d) outcomes tracking and analysis. CGRS develops litigation support resources, including practice advisories, country conditions research reports, expert declarations, and sample case documents, which we disseminate through our technical assistance program. We also provide unpublished immigration judge and Board of Immigration Appeals decisions. 

What kind of mentorship does CGRS provide?

CGRS receives funding to provide more in-depth individualized phone or email consultations for certain legal services networks and their pro bono affiliates to discuss legal theory and strategy, and procedural and evidentiary issues. If you are working on a case funded by the Vera Unaccompanied Children Legal Services Subcontract, San Francisco Immigrant Legal Defense Collaborative, California Department of Social Services, or working at a Qualified Legal Service Provider (QLSP) organization funded by the California State Bar, please contact us if you would like to access these services. 

On a limited basis, we review and provide feedback on draft asylum applications, declarations, briefs, and other submissions. We strive to make consultations available to other TA program users to the extent we have the capacity and the cases are aligned with our litigation priorities. Unfortunately, we are not always able to accommodate more in depth consultation requests, but will always provide tailored assistance resources through our online TA program. If you would like to request a consultation, please email us at CGRS-TA@uchastings.edu with your case number in the subject line and a brief overview of the assistance you are seeking. Consultations are by appointment only; please do not call CGRS if you have not scheduled an appointment. 

How can I support CGRS’s work?

Practitioners can also support our TA program reporting outcomes and sending us redacted sample materials. Many of the sample briefs, decisions, and country conditions indices are provided by practitioners who have utilized our TA program. We encourage you to redact any identifying information in case documents before sending them to CGRS. On a limited basis, we may be able to assist with redaction, but due to limited staff capacity, we encourage you to redact all documents before sending.

Donations are essential to sustaining our work and keeping our technical assistance program free and accessible to all. If you are interested in donating, please click here. We appreciate your support and any amount helps! 

Requesting Technical Assistance 

How do I access technical assistance materials?

Please fill out a request for assistance here. First-time registrants must create an account; save your credentials for future requests. We will email you relevant materials based on the information you have provided within 10 business days. For urgent matters, note upcoming deadlines in the “Case Deadlines” field. If you have already received a CGRS case number in a particular case, do not submit a subsequent request form online. Email CGRS-TA@uchastings.edu with the case number and specify the type of follow-up requested.

Can I include information for multiple clients in one request for assistance?

If you are representing more than one client as principal applicants on separate I-589s, please submit individual requests for each applicant. Maintaining separate records allows us to track each case as it progresses, accurately monitor decision trends, and provide the most relevant resources.

How can I request additional assistance for a case for which I already have a CGRS case number?

If you are looking for more materials for a case for which you have already received a CGRS case number, please do not submit an additional request through our online portal. Instead, email CGRS-TA@uchastings.edu with your CGRS case number in the subject line and a summary of the additional assistance required. If you are requesting additional assistance after receiving an outcome in your case, please report your outcome here before emailing us. Do not submit multiple assistance requests for the same case. 

Is it possible to transfer CGRS cases to a different account?

If a case is being transferred to a different attorney than the one who submitted the original assistance request, please email us at CGRS-TA@uchastings.edu with the CGRS case number in the subject line. We will need the email address connected to the CGRS account of the attorney to which the case is being transferred. 

Outcomes 

Why does CGRS track case outcomes?

Tracking of case outcomes is an important component of CGRS’s technical assistance program. CGRS maintains a database of over 40,000 asylum cases and collects case information including the facts, arguments made, identity of the adjudicator, outcome, and the rationale for the decision. This enables us to assist other attorneys with similar claims by providing information on how particular adjudicators have ruled and what evidence was persuasive. The information is also critical to informing our research, resource development, impact litigation, training, and policy advocacy efforts. Additionally, attorneys who reported outcomes provided and gave permission to share many of the sample briefs and decisions disseminated through our TA program. 

How do I report an outcome in a case previously registered with CGRS?

To report an outcome in your asylum case, log into your CGRS account and go to the My Account page. On this page, you will see a list of all of your cases registered with CGRS. On the right side of each case, you will see a link to Add an outcome. Click this link to add an outcome for that case. 

Technical Assistance Materials 

I requested country conditions resources for my case, but did not receive any in the TA materials I was sent. Are there more on file?

Due to the high volume and wide variation of assistance requests we receive, we are not able to provide country conditions resources for every country or type of fear-of-return claim. Around 75% of TA requests we receive are for applicants from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Additionally, through our fact-finding projects and collaborations, our expertise is most focused on this region. While we endeavor to develop materials for other countries and types of claims, we are limited by staff capacity, the volume of requests, and the complexity and variation between cases.

We also encourage you to ensure that you have not overlooked country conditions materials which may be included in the linked Box folder sent in every email or attached to the initial email with resources.  

If resources related to your applicant’s specific country or claim are not included in the materials sent, we do not have additional materials on file. Additionally, if the materials sent are out of date, we do not have more updated materials available at the time. We will reach out once new materials are available.

Why did I receive sample briefs and decisions for countries other than my client’s country of origin?

CGRS endeavors to provide sample redacted briefs and decisions on claims relevant to your client's case. We often send materials in similar types of claims, even if they are for cases different than your client's country of origin because the legal arguments presented may still be applicable. 

It has been more than 10 business days, and I have not received materials. Where are they?

We encourage you to check your junk or bulk mail folder, as sometimes our emails are marked as spam. Please also confirm that the email connected to your CGRS account is correct, as all materials are automatically sent to that email address. The email connected to your account can be found on your My Account page. If your email is correct and you cannot find materials in your spam folder, please email us at CGRS-TA@uchastings.edu and include your CGRS case number in the email subject line.

Can I submit CGRS materials in a filing for a case?

You are authorized to submit certain CGRS materials, such as universal declarations, only in cases for which you have requested technical assistance and have a CGRS case number. Do not submit country conditions toolkits or practice advisories, as they  are provided as background information and guidance for practitioners and are not meant to be submitted as evidence or argument. 

Can I share CGRS materials with other attorneys or students working on a different case?

Please do not share CGRS materials with others who have not submitted a request for assistance without prior permission from CGRS. We request that a separate CGRS request be submitted for each individual case for internal tracking purposes and so that we can provide relevant updates. To inquire about permission to share materials, please email us at CGRS-TA@uchastings.edu. However, you may share CGRS materials freely with anyone working on the same case for which you requested assistance. 

Can I access CGRS’s asylum case database for research purposes?

Unfortunately, we are not able to grant access to our database for research purposes. Please email us at CGRS-TA@uchastings.edu regarding your research, and we will determine if we have relevant, non-confidential materials to support your research.

How do I edit information in a case record after submitting?

After submission, you cannot edit information in a case record. Please contact us at CGRS-TA@uchastings.edu with the CGRS case number in the subject line and provide details of the information you would  like to change.CGRS can edit the case record accordingly.

Expert Witness Referrals

Where can I find expert referrals?

Please visit our Expert Witness Database for referrals for country conditions and health experts. You must be signed into your CGRS account to access the database. Please note that CGRS provides expert contact information to enable attorneys to find potential experts, but appearing in our database does not imply endorsement of an expert. CGRS does not guarantee any expert’s work product. Database Users must conduct their own research and vetting when deciding whether to engage an expert on their asylum case. While we vet all experts for basic minimum requirements prior to inclusion in our database, we are generally not in a position to vouch for individual experts. Attorneys must research and appropriately vet experts to ensure they are an appropriate fit for their case. Additionally, we cannot mediate disputes between attorneys and experts.

How do I register to become an expert?

If you are interested in being listed in the Expert Witness Database, please submit your information for consideration here.